As financial fraud activities are on the rise in South Africa, we have to be careful not to fall for these ever increasing scams and cons. There is an increase in fraudsters using the names and logos of reputable fast cash lenders like Wonga and banks in order to cheat you out of your hard-earned cash. Wonga is just one of the companies that these criminals are using to target consumers attempting to get your money.
Here’s what you need to know about these phishing scams and what you can do to avoid becoming a victim...
Unsolicited Emails, SMS, Phone Calls and Contact via Facebook
Any person with a smart phone or an email account will be accustomed to receiving sometimes daily marketing messages, advertisements, and unsolicited emails, SMS, and even phone calls. We’re so used to being pestered by this unsolicited contact that we tend to ignore it. That is, until a well-known company, retailer, or brand approaches you with an offer you might be willing to take.
Criminals today are becoming innovative in the way they target their victims through email, SMS, and, more recently, social media platforms like Facebook. And so, it’s when you receive direct contact from a company name you’re very familiar with that those alarm bells don’t go off. This is exactly what’s been going on with Wonga, who has been used as the façade for an elaborate phishing scam that is cheating existing customers out of their hard-earned cash after falling for the false fast cash adverts and notifications.
Individuals or groups purporting to be Wonga might try to contact you by SMS, through social media, or even through WhatsApp. If you’d like to verify you’re talking to the real Wonga, you can contact our customer support centre on 0861 966 421 from 08:00 - 18:00 Monday to Friday, and Saturdays from 08:00 - 13:00. Our helpful guide can also help you learn how to spot scams.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails, SMS or making phone calls purporting to be from a reputable company in order to get personal information, such as passwords, banking details, or credit card numbers. Since the victims are existing customers of Wonga, they had little reason to be suspicious of the scam emails, SMS, and fake Facebook profile communications they were receiving, so they made contact with the fraudsters, handing over personal information in the belief that they were dealing with Wonga.
Consequently, Wonga has been receiving weekly complaints from customers who have been sent unsolicited notifications by a 3rd party under the pretences of the Wonga brand. As a responsible business, Wonga has promised to remain vigilant on this issue and will continue warning customers about any scams.
Top Tips for Keeping Your Money Safe from Phishing Scams
Here are some top tips to help you avoid falling for a scam and ensure that, if you are looking for fast cash, you are dealing with the REAL Wonga:
- Keep your personal information such as your ID number, bank card details and PIN safe at all times.
- Wonga does not send any unsolicited direct marketing, either through Facebook, SMS, WhatsApp, or email, to any customers. All email communication from us will always come from an @wonga.co.za email address.
- A Wonga fast loan is only available via our website – never via Facebook, email or SMS.
- Wonga will never charge you an upfront fee. If you are asked to pay in advance, report it to the police immediately.
- Never pay anyone to assist you in applying for your Wonga fast cash loans – rather call us and we will help you for free.
See below an example of a scam SMS to be aware of (note the @outlook.com email address. Our emails will always come from an @wonga.co.za email address) as well as a scam WhatsApp message:
Here’s an example of a scam email. Remember, spam emails tend to be written in bad English and/or (1) come from private email addresses you don’t recognise, (2) from a sender you don’t know, (3) asking you for money and/or your personal information. If you have not requested a loan from Wonga’s website, you should not receive any such correspondence from us.
“I have received suspicious contact from Wonga. What do I do now?”
If you have received any unsolicited and/or suspicious emails, SMS, or contact via a Facebook profile, please report these communications and obtain immediate assistance by contacting the Wonga fraud hotline on 0861 966 424 or on [email protected]. If you have fallen victim to a scam, our guide can assist you in determining your next steps. Please note that the tips we have provided in this article apply to any unsolicited contact you may receive from criminals that are operating under the guise of well-known companies, banks, and brands. Protect your hard-earned cash and shut these criminals down!